Vanguard Stories


Vanguard is a financial investment company based in Philadelphia, PA. They didn’t pay for this blog post.

In 1997 I attended a conference in Bryn Mawr which is a suburb of Philly. The first evening of our conference there was a reception for the 100 of us at a member’s home. It was a nice, but not large, house but inside was tastefully decorated with original art and sculptures. Before we went, I asked a friend to tell me about the owner of the house. He looked incredulous and said, “John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard.” I was pretty naïve and that didn’t ring a bell at all. Lunch the next day was hosted by the Presbyterian Women. I noticed that the woman who served us the night before was walking around with pitchers of tea and water refilling glasses of the conference participants. That was Mrs. John Bogle doing what she enjoyed, serving others.

In the years since I’ve learned a lot about Vanguard and I now have all my investments with them where they’ve done quite nicely. I also read one of Mr. Bogle’s books. I encourage my family and the churches I consult with to have accounts at Vanguard.

I noticed this about Mr. and Mrs. Bogle is this: they are quite humble and seek to find ways to serve. Even though this couple is worth a lot of money, they are generous with their home and time. My professional experience with Vanguard says that they have instilled those values in the company they founded. Customer service at Vanguard goes out of their way to help.

I’ve worked with other high net-worth individuals and families and noticed the same traits: humility, gratitude, generosity, openness, and rarely seek the limelight. I encourage pastors to minister to high capacity donors because these members have the same human needs as everyone else but too often society sees them only as a checkbook.

If pastors would set aside one hour a week to meet individually with the top 20-25 donors and talk about their pastoral needs, some of those high net worth individuals may do what comes naturally to them – be generous with their church. Pastors should never have meetings with ulterior motives (to gain money), but they must absolutely never avoid meeting with the rich. Many high capacity donors would feel honored to have an hour of the pastor’s time and I can assure the pastor, you’ll learn a lot about leadership by just being with them.


Lead On!